Environmental Rock Stars Come to Town on January 31

Written by: Lauren Brois on Jan 15th 2015

Press Contact: 
Midge Iorio, (914) 620-2411

January 15, 2015

Environmental Rock Stars Come to Town on January 31

Attendees at the Bedford 2020 Environmental Summit and Solar Action Day will have the rare opportunity to share and discuss insights, innovative ideas and actionable solutions from a roster of speakers that reads like a  who’s who of environmental rock stars.  The event features a full day of keynote lectures, workshops, and panel discussions led by international, national and regional authorities as well as “home grown” local experts.  Topics covered at the Summit range from renewable solar energy and energy efficiency to single stream recycling and composting to health and water quality, eating local, native plants and much more.

“The goal for the Summit is to drive transformative change by providing real solutions that will make a substantial difference in our every day lives, in our community and in the world,” says Olivia Farr, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Bedford 2020, “To achieve that goal, we have assembled an amazing group of cutting edge environmental thinkers at the Summit. People will not want to miss their presentations.”

One of the Summit Keynote Addresses is being given by Amory Lovins, founder of  Rocky Mountain Institute and world-renowned scientist and innovator in energy solutions. His  work, in over 50 countries, has been recognized by the “Alternative Nobel”, a MacArthur Fellowship and Time Magazine’s “Hero for the Planet”, among many other awards.  Lovins’ address at the Summit, will be based on his book, Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era. He will challenge attendees to imagine a world without climate change, without oil spills, without dirty air, and to consider the possibility of a world of affordable, abundant energy.  His talk will delve into real solutions and a viable path for getting off of fossil fuels and even natural gas.  “In 2009, at the first  Environmental Summit, our community opened the conversation on environmental threats and the need to create a plan of action. At this event, on the fifth anniversary of adoption of a Climate Action Plan and creation of Bedford 2020, we are focused on testing innovative solutions and making them viable” said Ellen Conrad, Co-President of Bedford 2020.  

The Summit’s Keynote Opening Address will be given by Richard Kauffman, New York State’s “Energy Czar” and Chairman of Energy & Finance for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Kauffman, who manages New York’s’s entire State Energy Portfolio, will talk about “New York State’s Energy Revolution”; how we are becoming energy producers and not users; and how the new energy paradigm will impact climate change, jobs and health in New York State. The January 31st  Summit marks the official launch of Solarize Bedford-Mt. Kisco, a New York State funded program aimed at driving the adoption of clean, solar energy among local residents and businesses. The Energize New York home energy efficiency program, that was piloted in Bedford in 2011, and has now expanded to 13  communities in Westchester, will also be front and center at the Summit. 

Andy Revkin -- who has been writing and speaking about environmental and social sustainability for more than three decades, from the Amazon to the White House to the North Pole, mainly for The New York Times, is also on-tap as a Keynote speaker at the Summit.  In his Closing Address, Revkin will talk about about progress being made on climate change and the importance of small steps that make a difference. According to Mary Beth Kass, Co-President of Bedford 2020, “it is these small steps taken by residents, businesses, schools and the municipalities that will transform our community.” 

According to Midge Iorio, Executive Director of Bedford 2020, “The Summit was intentionally planned to offer a broad range of workshops from which attendees can choose based on their personal interests. Whether you want to learn how to plug a hole in your home that’s leaking energy; understand New York State community solar initiatives; start beekeeping in your backyard or plant a native garden, the workshops at this event will be led by formidable experts who will offer information and education that will enable attendees to finish the day ready and armed to take action.”

For gardeners,  Sheila Brady, a national expert on native plants, designer of the Native Plant Garden at The New York Botanical Garden and creator of the master plan for Caramoor’s new native garden, will lead a workshop about the beauty and ease of growing native plants.  She will also discuss the value of native plants as refuge for biodiversity and creators of a diverse yard that cleans our water and air and feeds our pollinators. 

For foodies,  there will be a panel discussion with local farmers, chefs and food purveyors moderated by farmer, Mimi Edelman, on “Eating Local and Supporting our Local Food Economy.”  For those interested in producing their own local food, the Summit offers a workshop on “Backyard Bees and Chickens” led by Karen Sabath, Sustainable Beekeeper and Co-Founder of Hudson Valley Natural Beekeepers Association, and renowned chicken farmer, Annie Farrell, from Millstone Farm.

Composting “guru” Gregg Twehues, who spoke at the first Bedford Environmental Summit in 2009, will continue the conversation on January 31st with advice for municipalities who are considering organic waste systems. Also speaking on composting and leaf mulching at the event will be Master Composter, Bedford Hills resident and founder of “Leave leaves Alone”, Fiona Mitchell.

Over the years, the Bedford/Mt Kisco community has spawned its own experts who are leading community projects that are being expanded or used as role models in other towns and regions well beyond Bedford. Mark Thielking, Executive Director of the Energy  Improvement Corporation, a not for profit , Local Development Corporation that is expanding Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing across NYS and Director of Energy Resources for the Town of Bedford will be participating in the panel on solar legislation and community solar.  Dr. Diane Lewis, author and creator of The Great Health Yard Project will speak about easy steps we can take in our own backyards to protect our local drinking water. Peter Kuniholm, Solid Waste Management Consultant, will be “Talking Trash” in a workshop that covers everything from single stream recycling to “what garbage has to do with greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Summit also features an impressive array of experts leading workshops on Energy. These include Ross Solar Group, the residential installer for Solarize Bedford-Mt. Kisco,  who will cover the basics of Solar and help residents explore whether Solar is right for their homes. Doug Hertz of Sunrise Solar Solutions, the commercial installer selected for  Solarize Bedford-Mt. Kisco will talk about the ins and outs of solar for business owners.  Norm Jen, Certified Building Performance Contractor, and Energize New York’s “Energy Coach” will cover everything you need to know about making your home energy efficient, reducing energy waste and saving money.

A complete list of Summit speakers and workshops is available online at www.Bedford 2020.org/Summit2015.

Event registration is required. Register early as space is limited for each lecture/workshop.  The fee for the day, including workshops and lunch, is $25 for adults and $10 for students.  To register and for information about the Bedford 2020 Environmental Summit and Solar Action Day, visit www.Bedford2020.org or call (914) 620-2411.  

Bedford 2020 is a non-profit organization leading a grass roots effort in the town of Bedford, NY whose mission is to lead, organize and promote a community wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and to create a sustainable community that conserves its natural resources. We are reducing emissions and making a difference through community programs that span five action areas, including: Energy, Food & Agriculture, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, and Water & Land Use. Bedford 2020 programs are led by the work of nine Task Forces staffed with over 90 community volunteers.  More information is available at www.Bedford2020.org.


Learn more and register online: http://bedford2020.org/summit2015

Check out the Energize Events at the Summit.